The Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa (ODF) is a national non-profit and public benefit organisation established in 1988 to address the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors in South Africa through awareness and education campaigns aimed at the public and medical professionals.
The ODF is the national umbrella body for the promotion of organ and tissue donation. We actively plan and implement education and publicity programmes that are designed to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation with the aim being to prime individuals towards consent.
The ODF is not a medical organization and plays no role in the allocation, or procurement, of organs. We receive no funding from government and rely entirely on our own fundraising initiatives and generous donations from corporates and individuals to support our work.
The Foundation has two main focuses:
We also administer an Emergency Flight Plan, which pays for the transportation of vital organs from outlying areas to transplant hospitals if sponsored flights and/or funding is available to do so.
As a non-profit organization and subject to the provisions of the National Health Act, No. 61 of 2003, our objectives are as follows:
The primary objective is to promote awareness of life-saving solid organ transplants. The secondary objective is to promote awareness of tissue and life-enhancing transplants. The ODF’s objective is not to be responsible for, or directly involved in any medical-related processes, treatments, organ procurement or organ allocation.
In fulfilling its objectives, the ODF has the following aims (without limitation):
Samantha has worked for the Organ Donor Foundation for over 15 years and possesses a wealth of knowledge on organ donation and transplantation in South Africa. She has worked herself up through the ranks, starting as a junior assistant to her current position which involves leading the the Organ Donor Foundation’s daily operations. Samantha's vast knowledge of the organization - its needs, strengths, weaknesses and potential, makes her the perfect leader to ensure that proactive strategies are in place to guarantee long-term sustainability and to achieve the organisational objectives.
Samantha Nicholls is responsible for the daily management of the entire organization and oversees all national and regional projects.
Director of Communications
Jooste Vermeulen brings over 20 years of advertising and marketing experience to the Organ Donor Foundation. He donated a kidney to his son in 2007 and has been intimately involved for over 10 years while his son waits for an organ transplant.
Under the communications portfolio, Jooste is responsible for driving national organ donor awareness and increasing the number of people registering as organ and tissue donors. He is involved in planning communication strategies, the messaging and branding of the Organ Donor Foundation as well as management of the IT and database development.
Public Identity, Branding, Rules and Logo Downloads
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Our public awareness initiatives are as follow:
The Organ Donor Foundation initiated, developed and maintains the database where members of the public can register as an organ donor.
Members of the public can register online on the website; or by filling out a form and forwarding it to ODF; or by downloading the ODF App onto their cellphone.
The database provides ODF with a tool to measure demographics and contains all the necessary contact and next of kin details of potential organ donors.
The Organ Donor Foundation provides preventative education training in order to decrease the number of people needing organ transplants by creating awareness of the lifestyle changes needed to avoid organ failure.
Renal failure in South Africa is dramatically increasing as a result of lifestyle related diseases. The impact this has on the demand for dialysis is exorbitantly high; and due to a lack of resources in public facilities, too many individuals from vulnerable communities who cannot afford private medical care, but desperately need renal dialysis to survive, cannot be helped and never have the opportunity to go on the life saving organ transplant programme.
The above is especially prevalent in vulnerable communities as a result of poor economic conditions. For this reason, ODF carries out preventative education as a key part of its grassroots outreach to ensure that in addition to priming for consent, it is working towards creating an ideal situation where fewer people require a transplant by making the necessary changes to their lifestyle before it is too late.
ULUNTU AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
(The isiXhosa word “Uluntu” meaning “humanity” and “community”)
The Organ Donor Foundation is in the process of rolling out the ULUNTU Awareness Campaign in vulnerable communities as a first step towards breaking through cultural barriers in order to increase organ and tissue donor consents.
Preliminary studies have shown that having no knowledge, limited knowledge, or an understanding framed by misinformation or myths, impacts an individual’s response to the concept of organ donation and transplantation. Additionally, cultural and traditional beliefs play a major role.
At present there are no formal programmes in vulnerable communities to educate and inform people about the concept of organ transplantation. Tied to this, many individuals are not aware of the high incidences of organ failure or the likelihood that they, a family member, close friend or acquaintance, could very well find themselves on dialysis and needing a lifesaving transplant.
Thus a holistic approach will be used involving research in the form of information gathering with Transplant Coordinators from feeder hospitals to baseline surveys, which will be carried out with the communities. The awareness drive will be done using community participative methods and grassroots outreach that has been developed to directly address cultural and traditional barriers to organ and tissue donation and includes preventative education.
INTERACTIVE DATABASE IN ORGAN REFERRAL HOSPITALS
The Organ Donor Foundation is currently working towards implementing the organ donor database/registry as an interactive tool to be used by the Transplant Coordinators during the referral and consent stage as an aid to speed up and facilitate the process by making it easier for the Transplant Coordinators to contact the next of kin due to having access to the contact details and as a way to facilitate the conversation during the decision making stage.
The database also serves as a powerful instrument at that time when consent is needed to reassure family members of ones intention to donate, which makes the family’s decision an easier one to make.
TRANSPLANT FLIGHT FOR LIFE – EMERGENCY FLIGHT PLAN
The Organ Donor Foundation administers the Transplant Flight for Life – Emergency Flight Plan. The fund was set up to finance chartered flights to transport organs from remote areas to waiting recipients when there are no scheduled flights available.
These charters range in costs from R50,000 to R100,000 per flight and this service is used by both state and private hospitals and transplant centres countrywide
ODF receives a limited number of sponsored flights each year and attempts to use all sponsored flights before incurring flight costs. Use of the flights depends on the availability of the aircraft, crew and sponsorship allocation. If we cannot access a sponsored flight, we must pay for a chartered flight if funding is available. This kind of outlay places a huge burden on ODF’s funding efforts.
Volunteers and third party organisations play an important role in assisting ODF to reach more people to create awareness of organ and tissue donation.
ODF provides volunteer training to empower volunteers to assist with the following:
The training comprises an introduction to the work that ODF does and covers important information about transplantation, including the history of ODF and organ / tissue transplants and the need for more transplants. It outlines why there is a shortage of donors and also which organs and tissue can be donated. Essentially it equips volunteers with the knowledge needed to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation and provides the guidelines on how to do so.
Please note: Volunteer assistance is limited to the above activities. While ODF appreciates and is thankful for all assistance offered, it is not in a position to accept offers that extend beyond these activities. The executive management committee strategically selects months in advance those campaigns and activities that will best achieve its aims and objectives and allocate its scarce resources accordingly.
It is therefore not always possible or feasible for ODF to extend its resources to manage/oversee new campaigns and/or to manage/oversee the services being offered by third parties. It also needs to be noted that the ODF is not in a position to allocate resources to those campaigns that extend beyond its scope, that duplicate its current efforts and/or require more resources than it has available.
Should you wish to offer assistance for an activity not listed above: please select the link “submission for proposals or campaigns by third parties” located under the “contact us” link
Bone SA is a Non Profit Company (NPC), whose main objective is to promote the interests of people who have been disabled by disease or injury, through the distribution of bone related allografts. Bone SA achieves this by bringing together donors and recipients in co-operation with the Centre for Tissue Engineering (CTE) at the Tshwane University of Technology.
For more information please visit the website on: www.bonesa.org.za
The Centre for Tissue Engineering (CTE) of the Tshwane University of Technology is a multi-disciplinary human tissue bank who sources, processes and supplies human tissue (eye tissue; skin; bone & tendons and cardio vascular tissue) for implant, transplant and therapeutic purposes. The CTE is committed to respect and dignity to the donor and his family and dedicated to promoting donation for the purpose of improving quality of life through tissue transplantation.
For more information please visit the website on: www.tissuedonation.org.za
The Eye Bank Foundation of SA is the Western Cape Eye Bank, registered as a Non-Profit organisation whose primary function, as authorized by the South African Department of Health, is to procure and distribute human eye tissue (namely corneal and sclera tissue) to Ophthalmic Surgeons for transplantation purposes in order to improve the sight of persons who are blind or partially blind due to corneal disease or injury.
For more information please visit the website on: www.eyebank.org.za
The Gauteng Cornea & Eye Bank is a Non Profit, Section 21 company, registered with the South African Department of Health to procure, medically evaluate and distribute corneal and scleral tissue, which has been donated by caring individuals for use in transplantation. Donor tissue is requested and utilised by medical doctors and ophthalmologists registered by the HPCSA, within both the private and provincial hospital sectors. The Gauteng Eye Bank does not utilise donated tissue for research purposes.
For more information please visit the website on: www.gautengcorneaeyebank.co.za
The KZN Cornea & Eye Association is a Non Profit, Section 21 Company whose objective it is to alleviate the ever-increasing need for corneal tissue in KwaZulu Natal, under the authority of the South African Department of Health. Corneal and sclera tissue which has been donated by caring individuals is medically evaluated and distributed by the eye bank. This precious tissue is used for corneal transplantation and scleral grafting in order to restore sight for those who suffer from corneal dystrophies or injuries.
For more information please visit the website on: www.kzneyebank.co.za
The National Tissue Bank of the University of Pretoria is an accredited human tissue bank that is devoted to providing quality allograft tissue through a dedication to excellence in education, recovery and processing while caring for recipients, donors and their families. The National Tissue Bank screens, tests, recovers, processes and distributes human bone that are: safe for implantation; of consistent high quality and acquired with respect from the donors and their family.
For more information please visit the website on: www.up.ac.za/the-national-tissue-bank
The homograft valve bank in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of the Free State strive to conduct research in various aspects of cardiac surgery and to provide surgeons with cryopreserved aortic and pulmonary heart valve homografts of optimal quality for transplantation. This is especially aimed at the correction of congenital heart defects in paediatric patients, but also for certain adult corrective surgeries. The bank is currently the sole supplier of cryopreserved homograft valves and conduits to cardiac units in South Africa.
For more information please visit the website on: http://www.heartcentre.info